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Just gotta vent about this bozo

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Alan, Nov 1, 2002.

  1. Alan

    Alan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,393

    It seems like the lowballers aren't limited to just cutting grass. I just found out about a newbie uphere who is offering some killer pricing. Maybe even suicidal pricing.

    I called with a price for one small residential drive. Wide open, not hard to plow at all, fits in our minimum charge of $20. The owner has a quote from some dipstick newbie who will do it for $250 per season, including sanding. On top of that, if they prepay he'll lop 20% off that number.

    Residentials average 14-15 pushes here, depending on where they are located. Near the lake usually has a push or two less. Very few residentials ask for sanding, but if they do, and this one will need it(faces north, relatively steep for a ways) it's fair to figure 4 sandings.

    So here's this ace, gonna do all the plowing in town, for somewhere around $12 per service. Gotta love it! I told the homeowner to ask for a certificate of insurance and see what the reaction is.

    I don't really care, our workload will be all we want, but here's a classic example of Billy Bob's Snow Plowing in action. It may be kinda funny to see how many of his customers abandon ship in the middle of the winter. This will be one of the bozos who loudly proclaims (next year) that he got out of it because "There ain't no money in plowing snow!".
  2. speedracer241

    speedracer241 Senior Member
    Messages: 325

    I agree with ya Alan!!!

    I put in a bid on a fast food restuarant here in town. Bid it quite a bit higher than I normally would. It is kinda a goofy lot with lots of parking curbs and no good place to put the snow. I have enough work, didn't really need it but figured what the heck if I get it fine.

    Got a call from the manager the other day, asked if I could do it for a competitors price. The other guy was gonna service this account from over 40 miles away, do sand/salt and shovel the walks for an ungodly low ammount.
    I told him I can't do it for that ammount, that is half of what I charge for a nice, easy open lot.
    I asked him if the other plower can guarantee service throughout the day, If he will have it plowed first thing in the morning? He didn't know.


    After educating the manager on some issues of snowplowing we agreed on a price I could live with:D . He isn't gonna get the "A plan" because he doesn't want to pay for it. He will loose a little parking, I'm not gonna take the time to push it up over the curbs.
    He was just out to get a bottom $$ job so he can get his bonus at the end of the month.

    Just a vent,
    thanks for listening
    Mark K
  3. Joey D

    Joey D Senior Member
    Messages: 280

    Alan, I did a driveway last year for $200 for the season. It's a friends aunt and the previus guy couldn't do it anymore. I said yes to help him out not thinking I would make money doing it but I did good last year. If you get all the cash up front by Nov. 1st it could work out in your favor.

    The other thing that comes to mind, Maybe he will take the money and run.
  4. Manx

    Manx Senior Member
    Messages: 115

    My sister recieved a flyer here in SE Michigan

    they had 125 for the season for driveways

    I'm sure hoping we get allot of snow here
  5. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    $125 per season? In Michigan? Just how big are those drives - 10'x10'? I do have one that I do for $100/season. Involves pushing staight into a private road about 20 feet. Owners live in CT and comes here occasionally. Just want a place to park thier pickup. It's on my way from one account to another and takes a total of less than a minute.
  6. Ohiosnow

    Ohiosnow Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 415


    are 1 or the other as new to plowing or doing it on the side with no BIZ records (you know, pockets all the $$$ & never tells Uncle SAM or his Insurance Co.).:nono:

    Or like a guy about 6 yrs. ago that got 50 accounts to pay up front & then gave them very bad service. :mad: He then made it look bad for all snowplowers. A couple of us went over to his BIZ & kicked some butt but he still said SCREW the homeowners & to us he did big time. He did do some service so they couldn't sue him as nothing was in writing about when it was to be done as to after a storm. :nono:
  7. RAZOR

    RAZOR Senior Member
    Messages: 343

    There are some signs on the telephone poles around here say from snow plowing $99 per season. Maybe if you call guy his price triples when he looks at the driveway or he takes the cash and is never seen again.

  8. BRIMOW525

    BRIMOW525 Senior Member
    Messages: 259


    I am one of the few guys in my area that have 2 trucks and a spreader. Not top of the line equipment....but anyway, Alot of guys want me to help with their accounts but freak out when I give them a price. They say " That's just about what I get for the whole place!" I tell them I'm not out here with equipment , 2am, insurance, gas, blowing snow, ...etc etc for nothin! Its just likek everything else. People think that what u charge them goes straight into your pocket. And you can't explain to them because they don't want to listen. Guys want work from me because I can get good money from the customers. Some people around here are cheap. Esp trailer parks and believe it or not gas stations. I have one of each and they are good paying customers but want u to wait till its done snowing to do the job. I do them but don't give a d**m what it looks like when we are done. But I haven't seen anyone advertising of telephone poles around here yet. Theres gonna be scrubs in every line of work. I guess they help make the world go round.
  9. NoStockBikes!!

    NoStockBikes!! Senior Member
    Messages: 213

    Well, I've heard it said that the key to looking good is having somebody to compare favorably against. :rolleyes: My best guess for the $250 guy is that he's trying to get a cluster of of people (say 20 or so) in the same area, and assuming average snowfall, less than 10 min per driveway, he's making (per hour) what he'd be making subbing out for a business. Good chance it's just a side gig, and he's looking for <5 hours of work per snowfall.

    I actually thought about doing somethign like this, but the PITA factor made me wanna just stick to subbing on commercial lots this winter. I don't wanna be driving 20 minutes over to an area, then spend half my plow time backdragging. Plus there's the whole dealing with the customer aspect, and it's much more appealing to deal with one customer regarding a couple hours of work vs. many customers per hour of work, if you know what i mean.
  10. Alan

    Alan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,393

    Nope, this area is too rural to get big clusters of residentials with little or no drive time between. And this particular job is well out in the country as it is. He's advertising as Joe Schmoe Contracting, doing wood butchery and such the rest of the time so it's not really side money for him.

    There seems to be a thought process in some newcomers to any line of work here, be it excavating, plowing, mowing, etc. that they are going to work cheap and run everybody out of business. Doesn't work out for them as a rule.

    What bothers me the most is that people get wind of these bargain nasement types and then figure that everybody who is pricing right is just out to make a killing. Doesn't do much for the image we're trying to cultivate.
  11. Aldergood

    Aldergood Junior Member
    Messages: 13

    Guess it's same all over

    We have a guy here too ! I got a call from a home owner for driveway plowing, it turned out to be 4 car driveway (he told me over phone it was only 2 car , but he didn't think he should have to count the part where the driveway was below the sidewalk..) I stood dumbfounded ... wondering if I even wanted to work for this guy...lol...Anyway, gave him my price and he acted as if he was having a heart attack...he told me that he had a price of 150 for the season......I stood dumbfounded ..knowing I wasn't going to work for this guy,,... I told him to get a contract with that guy as fast as he could before the guy came to his senses....Also someone is takeing down all my advertising around town and I am willing to bet it's the same guy
  12. Garagekeeper

    Garagekeeper Senior Member
    Messages: 459

    Lowball Pricing

    Alan you couldn't have said it any better. It just seems that some plowers don't really have a clue of what the real cost of doing business are, or how to price the area to be plowed. And thats not just reserved for the newcomers only. I had a customer called and asked me if I knew of this plowing firm that was leaving flyers in mailboxes in their area, her husband had called for info due to the low pricing that they were promoting. (about half of what I have charged for 4 years on a basic driveway) She then related to me that her husband was told that they plow over 500 drives in the local area with their "three" trucks, and that the drive would be cleared every morning before they leave and again if needed before they returned in the evening. He then asked them how they could perform such a service at the quoted price and in that time frame. Now lets do the math that's over 166 drives for each truck! Not imposible but in that time frame? My customer also expressed their concerns that they might not have been plowed for days with the number of drives that the other plowing firm said they did in the even of a larger snowfall. Anyway I have them as customers again at twice the rate of what was offered by the lowballer that plows 500 plus drives, I'm just pleased that I have customers that realize that you get what you pay for.
  13. BWhite

    BWhite Senior Member
    Messages: 496


    Lowballing happens at all Levels,
    I am one of these guys that does" it on the side "and I do not lowball in fact I raised my min price and lost customers but picked up better driveways at my new pricing. As one of these guys who" do it on the side" I realize;
    1 Plowing beats a $27K the truck even though I plow smart and not try to be some yahoo who can move the world with my plow

    2 Plows cost money
    3 Insurance is expensive especially for the side guy
    4 Taxes are never fun

    If you lose customers it's not because of me . Your problem is with the guy with the 20 year old truck plowing for "beer money"
  14. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    Second BWhite's comments. I also have a full time job and do this on the side. I have good equipment, kept well-maintained, insurance and the whole shot. I lost business this year to a construction company who has several employees, old beatup trucks and plows. I saw one of thier bids for a Post Office (that I posted here). To me, it was a ridiculously low bid. Had another customer who wanted me to plow for what a competitor quoted him. When I asked why he didn't hire the competition, he said cause they were unreliable and wouldn't get there until late, if at all. He still didn't "get it".

    I've been thinking about "what is a lowballer?". You really can't say it's someone who bids less that you. As was posted on another forum, the person who bids so low that they can't meet expenses is definately a lowballer (trying to make it up in volume). But, if I have a truck payment and the next guy doesn't, then he can bid less and make the same money, so you couldn't call him a lowballer. If somebody is clever enough to figure out how to lower expenses to bid lower, he still isn't a lowballer. So, I'm back to the person who bids so low, he can't make a profit.

    Any better definition out there?
  15. cat320

    cat320 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,224

    We had a guy that used to low ball us in our work.But he used to do a lot more jobs by working on the high volume of jobs.But why would you want to have to do more jobs to make what you could on a smaller amount? still can't figure that out.I gues some people don't feel that they are busy enough so they stak on more jobs and do a lot less of a quality job? but who really knows?
  16. Pelican

    Pelican 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,075

    I used to have a client who would constantly remind me that a gypsy had stopped and offered to plow for half my price. I was already doing this job cheap since the guy was retired and a neighbor, but he was a chronic complainer. I finally told him to have the other guy do it, and he shut up for a while, but began complaining that I was either too early or too late, too this, too that.

    The following season I raised his rate to what it should have been, never heard from him again. I don't miss him.

    We've got a few guys who work cheap here too, running junk equipment. I hear horror stories about no shows, crappy work and damaged property, these guys are only temporary irritations. They make us shine in comparison.
  17. long0

    long0 Senior Member
    Messages: 247

    Another Vent

    Went and looked at a large project (for me) Saturday.

    12 miles of two lane, chip and seal subdivision road. 42 driveways averaging 200' each. The President of the homeowners assoc. wanted a per push price for the entire road system, including all drives, at a 3" trigger.

    I drove the subdivision a couple of times figuring out what it would take, and figured somewhere around $700 per push. I got a call last night from the president, saying they were going with somebody else, because his price was 1/4 of mine.

    $175 - $ 200 for 12 miles and 42 drives - For just doing the road, that equals about $15 per mile. Plus you still have the drives. What is he thinking??

    After talking with the pres. for a while, I convinced him to fax me a copy of this guys proposal, minus pricing. It looked like his 3yr old wrote it with a crayon, but it still had everything included that I did.

    Some people are not only a pain in the @ss, but extremely stupid as well.

  18. DaveO

    DaveO PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Ma.
    Messages: 299

    12 miles and 42 drives

    And I thought the $700 bid was too low.........WOW

  19. NoStockBikes!!

    NoStockBikes!! Senior Member
    Messages: 213

    Damn, wish him luck and tell him to give you a call next fall. :D That just seems inconceivably low. One of those two parties involved are gonna be learning a nasty lesson.

    UNLESS the bid wasn't as low as the guy was fronting, and was trying to get you to drop your estimate to save some money. Can't ignore the possibility that he was trying to play you a bit. If you had seen the numbers on the contract, maybe, but I'd be looking at both with a bit of suspicion.
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2002
  20. long0

    long0 Senior Member
    Messages: 247

    I don't think the guy was trying to get me to drop my bid. I could see him telling me the other bid was 10%-15% lower if he wanted me to drop it, but 75%??? Not a very good negotiation stragegy.

    Either way, I am going to sent out a bulk mailing of my pricing structure and services offered to all the residences it that subdivision. Maybe after a couple of snowfalls, and the poor service they are sure to get, I can convince them that there is a better service out there.

    It's actually kinda funny that this guy thinks he is going to make money this year.